I work closely with a tech company which isn’t a client. They have thousands of employees around the world. Their headquarters houses a few thousand.
Because I am a super-user of their site, I get asked to participate in special programs — some beta tests, some educating new, seasoned and prospective users. The few dozen staff with whom I’m worked are smart.
However, because these intelligent people don’t have a lot of work experience, I find they make decisions that aren’t wise. They don’t think through the repercussions on their users before enacting changes. They don’t decide actions based on long-term ramifications, nor on the message their decision sends about the company’s values.
I find they lack …
Most of us need to enlist others outside of our team to help accomplish some tasks. Since the others are not required to say yes, you must finesse how you ask. In fact, even if the person is on your team, s/he may not be obligated to help you if what you’re asking is outside his/her area of responsibility.
It’s important to build relationships before you need to ask for help. People are inclined to help others they like, respect and trust. So ensure you are treating everyone you encounter in the best possible way. If someone asks you for assistance and you are able to provide it easily, then help them out. While requests are never to be quid pro quo, it often helps someone say yes to you if you’ve helped them. But don’t expect it or make them feel badly if they can’t help you in return.
In asking, your timing, tone of voice and word choice are critical.
At a recent business meeting of 8 people, one participant was unaware that his ramblings were irritating others. He spoke aloud whatever crossed his mind – when he had the floor, he got a text and mentioned it was from his wife. He further explained that his was was upset about her boss and wanted his input. “She just wants me to listen” he went on, “Boy, is her boss a jerk.”
This kind of unedited commentary was not unusual. He had conversations with individuals in the group — taking up the whole group’s time — that should have happened afterwards between just the two of them.
I was struck by how much time — and money — this wasted. And I’m afraid it was not an isolated instance.
A pal was sharing how frustrated he was in getting his non-profit idea off the ground. He has decided his solution was to convince a big tech company to fund it. He mentioned various ones he knew had big bucks, but I knew his idea was not aligned with what their foundations funded.
He was staunch in his belief that he could get them to fund him if he just met with the right people. I told him he was bloodying his head pounding it on a brick wall to get someone to embrace his idea and fund it for millions of dollars.
Finally, I said, “You’re fishing in a bathtub. You need to find a pond of fish who want your bait.” I didn’t mean to trounce his idea, but rather to help him find a more fruitful path.
I was honored to be featured in the press coverage of our Together We Can Change the World’s Global Leadership Boot Camp last month. In addition to the fabulous piece in the Asian Journal, I was also featured in the publications below, plus The Standard, Malaya and at GlobalPinoy.com and Manila Bulletin Online.